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Category Archives: Cozumel

Why We Love Cozumel

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After four years of living on the island of Cozumel, and working in the Riviera Maya area of Mexico, we’ve finally made a firm decision: We love Cozumel and we don’t intend to move!

Sure, Playa del Carmen entices us with great restaurants, and Tulum intrigues us with it’s hip vibe and more great restaurants, and Isla Mujeres tempts us with small town charm. But, we have decided to put away those temptations. Here is why.

Everyone has their own reasons about why they choose to live where they do. We live here because of the water: the access to it, the quality of it and the variety of it. While those other towns are on the water, or are surrounded by it, none of them can offer the experience of Cozumel.

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Nobody has the quality of snorkeling and diving on reefs that we have here. The visibility and health of the mainland reef system simply does not compare to our reefs on the west side of the island (and many Playa del Carmen dive masters will privately agree). Reefs on the mainland that are close to shore such as Xpu-ha and Akumal are murky with little to see. They may have been good before Wilma and other hurricanes, but no longer.

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On Cozumel, there are several spots on the west and south side of the island for good snorkeling, boat dives, shore dives and just plain swimming. Check out this video recently shot during a shore dive from one of the best dive resorts on the island, Blue Angel. We didn’t travel much more than 100 yards from the resort, we were diving in less than 30 feet of water and saw spotted eagle rays, tons of lobster, eels, and more.

 

Secondly, the incredible east side of the island, virtually undeveloped, has got to be one of the best-kept secrets in Mexico. With no large resorts to block access, the rugged coastline is dotted with stretches of sand, perfect for a relaxing afternoon, swimming in the surf, or kite boarding. Even on a busy Sunday, there is usually only one spot in the entire 12 mile stretch of beach (accessible by paved road) that is crowded. Try to find that on the mainland. Another 12-15 miles of the coastline is only accessible by 4-wheel drive for those who really want to get away.

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I’m not sure when you last went to the beach along the Riviera Maya, or in the U.S., for that matter, but unspoiled, public accessible, white sand beaches with warm Caribbean water are in short supply.

The best part of living on an island is designing your day on the water based on your activity for the day. Is the wind blowing hard from the east? No problem, the ocean on the west side will be nice and calm. Got a norte blowing and the west side is choppy? We go to Punta Sur and enjoy a nice long white sandy beach and a terrific snorkeling reef. Sitting on the mainland with a strong wind blowing from the east or north? Sorry, you’ve got nowhere to hide.

Sure, we have good restaurants, especially those with sunset views, something you won’t get on the mainland.

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We have one of the oldest and most popular Carneval parades in Mexico. In the days before Lent, the island reaches a fever pitch with days of parades with creative floats, dance competitions, performances by Mexico’s top entertainers – and it’s a local celebration. Visitors are welcome to join in and have fun, but it’s definitely not put on for tourists.

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I could go on with other small things that make living here comfortable and interesting, but, for us, it’s the water, the Caribbean and the beaches. If those things matter to you, I can’t imagine why anyone would vacation, get married, or even live on the mainland.

We won’t!

Diving Cozumel in the Summer

While summer on the island of Cozumel has it’s challenges (heat, rain, mosquitos, humidity), it also has several good points. Diving during the summer on Cozumel’s reefs is certainly one of the good points.

The wind tends to die down, which helps the visibility. Winter water temperatures are usually a pleasant 79 – 80 degrees F, but summer temperatures start hovering around 85, which means I’m not as likely to get as cold on the second dive and I’m not wearing two wetsuits.

Coral blooms, little fish hatch and the ocean seems to become a little more active during the summer. If you can catch a stretch of time without rain, then you’ve found the cosmic convergence of good diving conditions on Cozumel.

Here are a few photos from recent dives from the Swordfish with Aquatic Sports and from shore dives and snorkels from the Blue Angel Resort, two of our favorite Cozumel dive operations.

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Turtles seem to be solitary by nature. I have rarely seen them swimming or feeding together.

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A poaching victim?

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Shallow shore dives give you the opportunity to slow down and look for the little things. There probably isn’t anything harder to find than a seahorse, except maybe a frog fish. However, one of our dive master friends told us about a spot where she has seen one repeatedly. It took about 25 minutes of slow swimming with our noses about 12″ above the ocean floor, but we did find one that was about four inches long.

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The fish life around the sting ray enclosure next door to Blue Angel is alway active and varied. Pelicans hang around to feed regularly. One of these days I am going to hang out and try to catch them hitting the water while I am underwater. That should make a great photo.

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The Cruise Ships and Cozumel

By Christine Preble

Editors NoteThis story was originally written for Anthropology News. I think our readers will find it interesting. I would love to see comments and discussion.

The cruise ship industry, specifically Carnival Cruise Lines, has been a magnet for recent media attention.  An onboard fire led to the Carnival Triumph’s loss of power, leaving over 3,143 passengers and a crew of 1,086 afloat for three days in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico (Otis 2013).  What was meant to be a four-day cruise, leaving Galveston, Texas on February 7, 2013 to Cozumel, Mexico, ended up an ordeal of logistics, safety, and sanitation for the ship, which did not dock until the late evening of Valentine’s Day in Mobile, Alabama.

What it is Like to Live on Cozumel

The husband and wife team at Yucatan Living asked us to give an overview of our life on Cozumel. Ellen’s brilliant editing makes me look like a real writer, when we all know I’m simply a real photographer.

Enjoy it at Yucatan Living.

 

Cozumel’s Blue Angel Resort Summer Sale!

AUGUST and SEPTEMBER SALE FOR COZUMEL!

Divers should take advantage of this great deal at the Blue Angel Resort on Cozumel. A comfortable, perfect-sized hotel (22 rooms), with all rooms facing the water, a relaxed atmosphere, good food at their restaurant and an outstanding dive shop.

They feature WiFi, in room refrigerators, a nice pool and patio area, a palapa restaurant facing the water, rental gear, top-notch instructors for PADI certification, and their own pier from which their dive boats tie up and depart.

This was my place to stay on the island before I moved here. I still love to dive with Jorge and José.

Here is the deal:

7 nights lodging, 7 days with three meals per day and 5 days of 2-tank dives for $590 USD

4 nights lodging, 4 days with three meals per day and 3 days of 2-tank dives for $347 USD

At these prices you are losing money if you DON’T come.

Here is their web site link with details. Book now, because they say rooms are limited.

Cozumel’s Cielo Bay

Finally, we made it to one of Cozumel’s most popular snorkeling spots – Cielo. It wasn’t under crystal clear blue skies, but it was still good.

A great boat ride, arranged by Deanne of Two Ds Diving & Tour Adventures, a terrific lunch of ceviche and pescado frito de mero from La Perlita and a few cold beers made the day perfect.

Our friends Robi and Kathleen, visiting from Montana, were going to have their first snorkel experience. It would be hard to imagine a better first time. Under the calm guidance of José, they both became devoted snorkeling enthusiasts after 15 minutes of cruising Cielo.